Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Looking back on 2010

As we come to the end of this God Forsaken year it's time for me to think back and seen what the hell we did.

This year may have been one of the best years of CD bargain hunting that I have encountered. Four things stood out.

1. The closing of the FYE store in Coral Ridge and prices slashed 50 to 60 percent off enabled me to return there three times this year ending in February.

2. Real Records 50 percent off used CDs in August turned out to be a bonanza since Craig put out a lotta of his out of print inventory and I managed to find Dee Dee King's Standing In The Spotlight for four bucks as well as Leon Russell's Stop All That Jazz.

3. Hastings Music big Sony Music Sale during our Arizona Farewell trip.

But perhaps the last and best find was the October dollar cd sale at Pawn America in Madison which I ended up buying over 35 CDs in a two day binge. Of course finding a mint cd of Led Zeppelin 4 is always great, especially when I beat some dude that had 2 big shopping bags of stuff that he was picking up left and right. So convinced that I could find more that the next month I return to Mad City I did....and found nothing. But Frugal Muse more than made that up by having John Hartford's Aero Plain for 2 bucks. Which is selling for 50 bucks on Amazon.

The life of a bargain hunter is always hit and miss. And there were times that I'd go to either Waterloo or Ames/Des Moines and that turned out to be a wasted road trip. So I went to the places that still had CDs for sale, which was in Dubuque or Madison or Davenport. I made two big road trips: to Ann Arbor with my trusty GF driving the way to Encore Recordings and the other was the Arizona Farewell To The Music Stores Trip. The Michigan trip was the first time I have been up there in 35 years. And basically was a trip to meet her family and get acquainted with them. However she did humor the old dude by taking me to a couple FYEs and Encore but outside of that I didn't bother her with going to any in Detroit. But also knowing that there's nothing in Hale outside of a noisy air conditioner that put me to sleep. But also going outdoors and getting eaten up by those damn mosquitoes. I'm sure it won't be another 35 years going back up there, the GF won't allow that.

The Arizona Farewell Trip was planned on the same day as Michigan trip but with cheap airfares at that time, I thought it would be nice to return to the desert one more time. But it was bittersweet since everytime I went into a Zia's I would be bombarded with sales associates asking if I was all right or needing music help. Four times at the Thunderbird Zia's of pesky help and high used cd prices convinced me that I have doing the right thing by never going back there again. At least the folks at Hastings left me to my own devices. But I think the highlight was finally hooking up with Dennis Lancaster on the Sunday night I got there and we walked downtown Tempe and hung at the bar and drinking those iced smooties and getting a bellyache afterward. But it was fun talking about the old days and wondering where the hell they went and hearing Dennis moaning of the fact that the cute chick sitting next to him wasn't even born when I was living down there in 86.

It wasn't all cd bargain hunts in Arizona. I drove down Arizona 66, stopped at Crookton Pass and watched a couple trains go by and then it was off to Seligman to say hi to the kind folks at Angel's Gift And Barber Shoppe just before closing time. Didn't see Angel there, but got to talk to his daughter for a few. She's always been sweet and kind to me in the 20 years of stopping there while passing through. And off to Kingman to spend a night and the afternoon counting trains going through town and having supper at Cracker Barrel and having chicken and dumplings platter. And down the road to Bullhead City, Needles, through Lake Havasu City and Parker to Tucson to meet up with Barbara for a couple hours. And for the first time, only went through one monsoon storm between Tucson and Casa Grande, every day was sunny and clear. Sky blue skies. The way I want to remember Arizona.

This year has been the story of more places closing up shop. Marco's Pizza, my favorite place for the pizza buffet closed when I was up in Michigan and never reopened. FYE in Coral Ridge closed. Best Buy continues to shrink their CD inventory. The help continues to annoy me. The Plattville Record Store closed up so for the most part. But I did go to Madison four times and struck it big the last two. But on a picture taking trip on State Street encountered some old homeless hag worried that I was going to steal her cigarettes, didn't think much about it till the old hag told her buddies to "watch out for that guy". To which it was certain and the reason why I couldn't never live in Madison on a regular basis; if I stay there more than two days, the morons would come out and piss me off to the point that the trip wasn't fun. So, I went back up there a month later, on a Football Saturday and found out that it was best time to go there. Hardly anybody to bother me at the music stores.

I don't wasted any trips to Davenport or Dubuque or Madison, in Davenport I went there to stop at Big Lots and pick up some reduced prices on food. We used to have Big Lots in town, till they closed them up except the ones at Davenport or Hannibal or where my GF lives at.

The weather here was like the year before, snowy winters, and hot and humid summers with monsoon storms at night. No big floods here but Lake Delhi had 10 inches of rain one night and the dam failed and the Lake emptied down river to Monticello. The Wapsi flooded from rains up north but The Cedar in town didn't flood. And the fall was beautiful, got up to 80 degrees when I was in Madison that October day.

For sports it was pure disappointment. The Chicago Cubs tripped from the word go and Lou Pinella retired but they save their best baseball in September after he left. The San Diego Chargers couldn't beat The Oakland Raiders and stayed home for the playoffs. But the Iowa Hawkeyes, my beloved team had no defense and had it wasn't for a Micah Hyde pick six against Missouri in the Insight Bowl, this season would have been a disaster.

So we come to the end of the year and the only constant from last year is that my GF is spending another Christmas and New Year's with me. And the wondering of where I'll be at for next year and my plans are. I'm done with the Arizona trips, done with the Zia's and the pushy record clerks knowing nothing of what I like. I promised I would retire from this when I turn 50 but we all know that won't happen. As long there's a Half Priced Bookstore within driving distance and in town, I'll still be a fixture there, just like Jimmy Kibler and the old dude with the glasses. I'm sure there'll be a Madison trip or a Dubuque trip when the snow melts or when the car is working or as long as I have my job.

I'm sure there will be new stores a coming or favorite hangouts or eateries closing up just like this year and the year before and so on. I'm sure I will return next year with more observations and top ten mania that is the basis for this blogsite. It's a hard habit to break. If I don't there's a backlog of archives worth discovering. Thanks to all who follow, who supported and made comments of noteworthiness.

Till the next time.

Top Ten Of The Week-Don't Touch My 45's

For our final top ten of the year. I am going back to some of my favorite and recent discoveries on 45's found at different music stores and Goodwill.

This year might be over and for the most part the new music that the critics tout and rave I really don't have a need for. But yours truly is still busy looking for the obscure and out of print music that you don't hear on the radio. Some of this stuff is even beyond me. Guess that makes me a music fanatic eh?

1. Your Ma Said You Cried In Your Sleep Last Night-Kenny Dino 1961 Robert Plant had a hit with this cover in 1990 but I have actually never heard the original version of this song till I found a scratchy 45 of this song yesterday at Goodwill. On Musicor, I'm sure the nah nah nah nah chorus gets a bit tired for the bored but not myself. Only other version I know of this is The Turtles revamping it in 1965. Dino's only big hit (#24 highest chart position in 61), he died from a heart attack last year.

2. Sink The Bismarck-Homer & Jethro 1960 The original song parody dudes, they recorded tons for RCA and this version of the Johnny Horton classic song had my GF cracking up big time. I'm sure she finds my methods of top ten songs for consideration quite interesting. The B side to their parody of He'll Have To Go.

3. Honky Tonk Women Love Red Neck Men-Jerry Jaye 1976 Best known for his rockabilly version of My Girl Josephine, one of the greatest singles to come out of Hi Records, Jaye was mostly country and western when he returned to Hi/London after a brief stay at Mega and a single for Columbia. This did reach the bottom tiers of the top 100 country chart but don't think I ever heard it on the radio. Another 45 found at Goodwill yesterday.

4. Woman Goin Crazy On Caroline Street-Jimmy Buffett 1976 Co-written with Steve Goodman but didn't chart. This was before Margaritaville. From Havana Daydreamin.

5. Mule Skinner Blues-Rusty Draper 1960 Can't say if this predated The Fendermen's but this is another 45 of note found yesterday. A side was his version of Please Help Me I'm Falling.

6. Miles Of Rope-The 100's 2008 Getting back to some choice cuts from the cd player. Haven't done much playing things since the GF is down here keeping me occupied on other things. The 100's hailed from Iowa and on their 2nd album move to Mount Vernon Iowa to record a polished followup to their first album. They remind me of a less enthused Bottlerockets.

7. Common Ground-Rhythm Corps 1988 They had a minor hit and managed to do it in the waning days of MTV playing music videos. The album didn't have anything that rocked like the titled track and after their second LP, Pasha/CBS took them to hit the road.

8. Greenback Dollar, Watch & Chain-Ray Harris 1956 His best known song, recorded for Sun Records but out of all the compilations that I have had, I found this on a Rounder Cutout found at my second home, Half Priced Books. Harris would later figure into the formation of Hi Records and produced Jaye's My Girl Josephine.

9. I Just Want To Touch You-Utopia 1980 From their Beatle tribute album Deface The Music and yes this was a minor hit. Or it could have been their tribute to The Rutles. I'm guessing the former.

10. Clear As The Driven Snow-The Doobie Brothers 1973 Finally, I got word that Beaker Street, the Sunday night show is being dropped by the classic rock radio station The Point. I hope Clyde Clifford can find another radio station down there, that can give up a couple hours of the same tired classic rock boreshit in favor of some forgotten choice album that Clifford likes. This song is dedicated to Clifford and Beaker Street and thanks so much for playing my requests from time to time. Cheers!

Friday, December 24, 2010

No Christmas Spirit Here

Another white Christmas is bestow upon us and it's has been snowing for 24 straight hours. This GD Pineapple Express storm came, flooded California and parts of Nevada and Arizona and supposed to peter out but during the day we kept getting wave after wave after wave of snow squalls all night and most of the day. The two to three inches ended up being a fucking foot of the white slippery and slick shit and somehow tomorrow I must get to the airport on slick roads and a sick car to get my other half.

I have never been more out of the Christmas spirit than this year. We have had 4 major storms, dumping more than 3 inches of snow ever since the start of this month. Being in packaging most of the month didn't help morale, nor did a break line breaking on my car either. It's still not been repaired after three weeks. It didn't help when my dad broke his hip at his workplace either. The purple car needs new brake pads and the the windshield wipers don't work either. The first two weekends I had made plans to go shopping for gifts but we had two winter snowstorms that prohibited me to driving to Dubuque and then we ended up getting a Alberta Clipper that dumped another 5 inches of snow and then got to below zero. I gave up and decide to give everybody a card and money. Can't argue with cash. Can't get out of the driveway since the car is stuck and will not go anywhere tonight.

The house is in a mess, cleaned a bit of it before dealing with the GD snow shoveling. I know my other half don't care but I need to clear a path just so she don't trip over things. It didn't help last week when I ended up getting the first of many wintertime flu and colds here.

So anyway, while TBS plays A Christmas Story 24 hours right now and It's a Wonderful Life is on NBC, I'm celebrating it with 24 hours of Fear's Fuck Christmas, that little 53 second song that Lee Ving tacked on as a final cut on their Fear-The Record CD.

Hope y'all have a better Christmas than me.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Top Ten Of The Week-The Best Is Yet To Come

Or will it?

Robert Christgau has once again revived his consumer guide at this site. http://social.entertainment.msn.com/music/blogs/expert-witness-blog.aspx

Copy and paste to see it. Although I don't share his enthusiasm of Kanye West or the Sleigh Bells or whatever he gives a A too I still make it a habit to see what he gives his seal of approval. Habits are hard to break. When I think I'm going to retire my blog, I return the next week. Call it the Brett Favre Syndrome.

Starting next year, I think I'm going to leave the new bands and the new hip sounds to the new hip young crowd who tends to enjoy those tunes better than me. Just can't get into the Arcade Fire, I didn't care much for The National and whatever Pitchfork calls great. It's not like the old days when the bands made albums that last for the ages and not for the moment. But next year I'll still look out and buy certain albums. Motorhead, NY Dolls, Townedgers come to mind. Unless they're in digipacks. Then I'll pass.

The Top Ten Of The Week.

1. Not Fragile-Bachman Turner Overdrive 1974 I suppose my cut off point for music will be the 50's through the 00's of this decade with the majority coming from my growing up years. That would be from 65-93 I guess with bits and pieces from before and after. The classic rock era so to speak. I always enjoyed BTO more than the average person out there but really I don't need to hear You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet or Taking Care Of Business anymore so we leave that to the classic rock or oldies stations for that. The title track gets some airplay on Sirius rock station from time to time and I think I heard it on my Arizona getaway last summer. Fred Turner, one of my favorite all time singer shouters.

2. The Right Time-Natural Gas 1976 A big shout out to It's About Music and Dean Sciarra for remastering and redoing this 1976 album that Renaissance Records fucked up when they reissued it on CD last year. Poorly recorded and the cover art was beyond belief so Sciarra redid it in August of this year. Why should people care about it? Cuz it's about the music fool. Natural Gas was minor all star rock band with Joey Molland (Badfinger), Mark Clarke (Billy Squrier), Peter Wood (co wrote Year Of The Cat with Al Stewart) and Jerry Shirley (Humble Pie) and recorded one album for Private Stock to which I found the vinyl album for 50 cents at Woolworth's or K Mart in the late 70s. I liked it better than the last couple Badfinger albums (except Wish You Were Here which was pretty damn good). Natural Gas didn't last, Molland rejoined with Tom Evans in Badfinger, Shirley played with Sammy Hagar and reformed Humble Pie.

3. Miss Disarray-The Gin Blossoms 2010 Pity the bands making new music. Anybody played the new Eric Clapton lately? Me neither and I actually forgot all about this album till FOX News announced that the Gin Blossoms will be performing New Years Eve on that channel, one of those would be this new hit single. On a related note: Eastside Records in Tempe will be closing their doors New Years Eve down there. I didn't stop in there all that much although I did pop in for a few this summer. Never could find much in there although in 1990, I did buy about 6 blues CDs and Tesla's Greatest Hits in one setting. In fact, one of those blues CDs that I bought, I actually traded in a year ago down there. How bizarre is that?

4. Ice Cream For Crow-Captain Beefheart 1982 I think I included more Beefheart selections the last couple months than anytime the last 20. Not that I don't listen much to the dear departed captain but he died last week and so I'm paying tribute to the man. Half Priced Books had a copy of the EMI import Liberty/Virgin years cheap so I picked it up. The Liberty years were his Mercury albums that are considered his nadir, while the Virgin albums start with Bad Chain Puller with Doc At The Radar Station and Ice Cream For Crow which came out via Epic when they were distributing Virgin Records product. The Virgin albums are in the weird great department with Trout Mask & Lick My Decals Off Baby. Basically not for the faint of heart or Auto tuner fanatics. Inspirational line: Don't shake my hand, give me a claw! Captain couldn't top that one so he retired soon after.

5. No More Mr. Nice Guys-Sparks 1972 More off the wall stuff but coming from a band featuring two brothers, one that had a Charlie Chaplin mustache and played keyboards and looked bored while his other brother was the charismatic lead singer. The B Side to this was Wonder Girl and that song got played a lot around here. Had a record collecting ex GF that had the original album of this when Sparks was known as Halfnelson. I remember this song being played on American Bandstand and remembered Russ Mael going around chasing the guitar player with an axe. Trivia: Earle and Jim Mankey, the guitar and bass player of this band would go on to produce such notables as 20/20 and Possum Dixon and few others. The Mael Brothers would record for many labels (Island, Atlantic, RCA, Curb etc etc).

6. Seriously Gone-Dan Baird 1992 The main singer songwriter of the Georgia Satellites would go on to make a couple albums for Rick Rubin and Def American Recordings in the boogie style of The Satellites and would score a FM hit with the goofy I Love You Period (do you love me question mark-written by Terry Anderson of Battleship Chains fame). Fun fact: the band used on this recording Mario Magellam and Keith Christopher played in a late version of The Brains, which actually would become The Georgia Satellites.

7. The House I Live In-Sonny Rollins 1956 Yes I don't play fair by the rules. I do listen to jazz from time to time and this week was one of them. Rollins has been around for over 50 plus years and he was part of the Max Roach Plus Four jazz band and took over for Clifford Brown. This was the bonus track on the Rollins Plays For Bird that Concord Records reissued in 2008 and original recording engineer Rudy Van Gilder redid for today's CD collector. Improves a lot over the first generation cd that Fantasy/OJCs did in the 1990s. However, Universal who oversees the Concord Label has thrown a lot of jazz remastered reissues in the cut out bins of late, including the RVG series and the Orrin Keepnews Riverside Remasters. Be on the lookout and buy accordingly.

8. Painted Ladies-Ian Thomas 1973 A shout out to Clyde Clifford and Beaker Street for playing this one hit wonder from the Canadian singer songwriter. Thomas is the older brother of SCTV's Dave Thomas and appeared with Dave on the early version of Red Green Show.

9. Working On It-Chris Rea 1988 The ultimate cult artist, Rea has been around forever and best known for Fool If You Think It's Over and he recorded for many labels (United Artists, Columbia, Motown (!), Geffen, ATCO/East West). This did get some FM airplay in the late 80s and it did revive his career. New Light Through Old Windows I think was a compilation of his best known UK stuff but when ATCO reissued this I think they remixed or Rea redid the songs over. They sound a lot different then the Geffen versions.

10. Is It My Body-Alice Cooper 1971 Finally Alice get his place in the Rock n Roll Hall of fame with Tom Waits, Dr. John, Darlene Love, Brother Leon Russell and Neil Diamond. The original AC band got signed to Frank Zappa's Straight Records and made two bizarre meddling albums before Love It To Death gave them good reviews and a top ten single (Eighteen). This was the B side to the hit single. While some people enjoy the original albums of the original lineup, I still prefer the first Alice Cooper's Greatest Hits, to which we got all the big early 70s hits and selected album cuts that give reason why Alice Cooper should be in the hall of fame. I think we can also forgive him for working with Desmond Child too.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Observations From The Forefront-Christmas

I really haven't been much in a blogging mood lately. Some family issues, work issues and the typical crap we call December in Iowa, snow, cold and more snow cold and being sick didn't help things at all. Just not in a Christmas mood although I have been listening to a lot of Christmas music of late but not the overplayed stuff you hear on the radio. For some odd reason i did went out and buy REO Speedwagon-Not So Merry Christmas (Legacy/CMG) and if you like your songs Croninized, which means a lotta "alright" or Whoo and the melodrama that Kevin Cronin brings to this stuff. I did give up on REO in the 80's but their last album Find Your Way Home actually rocked a lot harder and so being the compulsive obsessive that I am bought the Christmas album. My favorite song wasn't none of the Cronin led stuff but rather Bruce Hall's country take on Blue Christmas. The odd thing is that REO has their most stable lineup, with only one person leaving but Cronin, Neal Doughery, Bruce Hall with Dave Amato and Bryan Hitt have been together for 20 years. Christmas albums are hit and miss, and I suspect Not So Merry Christmas would be a miss for me, however Kevin Cronin ends the record with a nice original I Still Believe In Santa Claus, which is on the reissue of NSMC and not the 2009 CD. So seek carefully.

Some interesting cutouts found were Christmas Greetings from Studio One (Heartbeat 2002) a hodgepodge collection of new and old reggae tunes. This is the followup to 1992's Studio One A Reggae Christmas, the original was better, the new tunes rely too much on casino keyboards and disco drums but when they go back to original ska songs from Toots & The Maytals and a White Christmas from Bob Marley & The Wailers you get the true Jamaica spirit and sound, even though I'm sure Jamaica never had a White Christmas like we do up here. Dan Fogelberg's 1999 The First Christmas Morning (Chicago/Morning Sky) sounds nice in the car on the way home from work and while I think people tend to rake him over the coals for his mellow music, Fogelberg has really sounded better with age. Or maybe I'm tired of what KDAT sticks down our throat.

I think the best Christmas albums for me remain The Ventures Christmas Album (Razor & Tie) or Christmas Party with Eddie G (Columbia 1990), a collection of obscure and different types of christmas music. When somebody puts together forgotten yuletide songs from the likes of Foghat, Fabulous Thunderbirds, NRBQ, Louis Prima, George and Tammy and my fave Cool Yule by Tony Rodelle Lawson. And there's comedy bits from Billy West (Futurerama, Ren & Stempy) as well. Thankfully I found a cheap copy at Amazon before it went out of print and cheap copies now cost about 20 bucks. Yuletunes (Black Vinyl 1990) is a collection of alt rock christmas songs that I found for 2 bucks that Crowded Closet in Iowa City and features power pop bands such as Shoes, Material Issue, Matthew Sweet and Madison's very own Spooner (Butch Vig who produce some band called Nirvana) doing their own christmas comps. I kinda hoped I could find Willie Nelson's Pretty Paper on CD but maybe we'll get that next year if we find it.

Other note worthy albums was Dave Allen & The Arrows Fuzz For The Holidays (Wicked Cool 2007), somewhat more in tune with Dave Hoey and loud guitar rather than the cool swing of The Ventures and tends to wear out its welcome very quick. Ben Keith-Seven Gates (Reprise 1994) is a all star record with the likes of Neil Young and Johnny Cash dueting on Little Drummer Boy. Keith who passed away earlier this year adds a nice slide steel to Silver Bells, Came Upon A Midnight Clear, Away In A Manger although my favorite of that album is Rusty Kershaw's out of tune vocal on Christmas Time's A Coming. Neil Young reissued this in 2008 on his own Vapor Label and retitled it Christmas At The Ranch.

So the forecast is supposed to be more snow Monday and Tuesday and we'll probably screwed out of seeing the lunar eclipse on the Full Moon in the process. I haven't done much christmas shopping this month, been sick most of last week and being stuck in Packaging most of the month has really zapped my energy in doing anything. I was really hoping this month we actually would break tradition and have a dry and warm December so that when my GF finally got down here we can go site seeing. She'll be here on Christmas day. It's supposed to snow again on Thursday and Friday. I figure she'll be occupying most of my time so won't be doing much blogging when she's here.

So that's the news right now. The Best Of 2010 blog has gotten over 100 views this month, the first blog that actually did top the century mark and much thanks go out to those who read it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Top Ten Of The Week-Snow & Cold

The two words used a lot around this area. Yeah it's been snowing and it's been cold and now I'm catching a cold.

I hate this time of year.

The Top Ten Of The Week:

1. When I Look In Your Eyes-The Romantics 1980 About thirty years ago they had a modest hit with What I Like About You, didn't hear it much on the radio but today, it's played at arenas and keeping the royalties rolling in. Or so it is said. This was the followup single to their big hit and the reason I bought their album in the first place. The airplay was less and it if broke the top 100 it didn't go past 90. Such a shame though. Great song.

2. Continental Highway-Fresh Air 1973 One of those bands that got signed to a major and made one album to which I have a promo copy of this. I think I got it for free or my mom did. The other two was Murray Head's Nigel Lived, a strange concept album from the dude who played Judas on Jesus Christ Superstar and the other which will be reviled later in this list. I'm sure none of you out there know who Fresh Air was, but they were a country rock band that was a bit more laid back than Poco and they took their name from the Quicksliver Messenger Service hit of Fresh Air. Columbia released this album and this could have been a sizable FM hit had the brains at CBS Inc promoted it. BTW, the other freebie we got was Robey, Falk & Bod-Kentucky Gambler which came out on Epic and reissued via It's About Music. Personal to the It's About Music folk, Fresh Air sounds like music right up your alley.

3. Evidence-John Cale 1984 Lou Reed got more press and more followers but John Cale sometimes could come up with a winning and rocking album. I tend to believe his eccentric state of mind can come up with winning albums (Slow Dazzle, Vintage Violence) but also erratic ones as well (Music For A New Society, Caribbean Sunset). I also believe he did his best stuff for Island too but this comes from his second go around with Island/ZE which his albums were freaking hard to find and everytime I inquired to the dumb clerk at Record Bar or Camelot about if they had John Cale Comes Alive, I ended up with blank stares. I eventually came across this, in the cutouts at the old BJ Records in Iowa City (RIP). For you Cale fans, SPV issued a 2 CD set of Cale performances at Rockpalast around 1983 and 1984 and this version is the ever more ragged. And eccentric. And Erratic.

4. Mrs. Rita-Gin Blossoms 1992 One of a few top ten hits from our boys from Tempe AZ. Did ya know that there is a tarot reader named Mrs. Rita down there off University not far from ASU and a couple doors down from the Zia Records Store? Long ago and far away that used to be my hanging out grounds when I lived there back in the late 80s? I moved away to get away from the snow back then, so why the hell am I back up here in snow and cold land?

5. Dead Souls-Joy Division 1980 I'm not the biggest fan but I do listen to some of their more harder rocking stuff. Someone take these dreams away...they point me to another day......

6. Kings Of The Party-Brownsville Station 1973 Your generation has Nickleback and your Hinder, we had Foghat and these party guys from Detroit. In fact, I knew a neighbor that had Cub Koda as a relative and I got an autographed copy of of Yeah in the process. Cub was a super knowledgeable rock and roll and he did reviews and a column for Goldmine back in the 90s. Alas he passed away a few years ago. Got to see Brownsville open up for Blue Oyster Cult in 1979 at then the new Five Seasons Center in C.R. Great times, great fun, first concert I ever went to. From album School Punks and poorly recorded by one Doug Morris who would become label head of Atlantic, later Universal and soon to be head of Columbia Records.

7. I Belong To You-Jessie Frederick 1973 One of my favorite 45s of long ago and far away (AM Radio mid 70s) but couldn't find it till I seen a promo at Rock N Bach in the early 80s. This did some airplay and charted on the KCRG Super 30 but I'm sure it was much lower on the Billboards. Frederick recorded one album for Bearsville/Reprise and as far as I know this was only a single only. Sounded a bit like Dave Edmunds. Produced by Nick Jameson later of Foghat fame. Anybody remember this song now? Yes? No? ???

8. Two People In A Room-Wire 1979 From 154, the third and final Wire of the first era. Art punk rockers going for a more bigger drum sound. When I first got this album I dismissed it as total crap but then again it grew on me with each listen and nowadays when I want to hear Wire, I usually put on 154 to scare the neighbors away.

9. City Pride-Robey, Falk & Bod 1973 They recorded a one off for Epic and there's a country rock influence of Poco, CSN, Buffalo Springfield and even Redwing (who recorded a few albums for Fantasy). Kind of like Fresh Air but with a harder edge. My Aunt Cindy would end up taking this record when she moved out but she returned it a few later the album was warped and so I had to wait about 20 years to find another copy in the dollar bins at Mad City Music Exchange. And then It's About Music put it out on CD.

10. Tarkio Road-Brewer & Shipley 1971 Found the 45 in a bunch of old Juke Box Records that the old Town Square Book Shop used to sell up in downtown Marion in fifth grade. Most of the records actually came from the jukebox down the road at Ole's Ham & Egger or at the old Marion Laundromat that I used to go bike riding and when nobody was inside would play the jukebox for a spell. Back in those days, you could do that but sometime around 1975 thereabouts, a bunch of fucking drunks came in and broke the jukebox to pieces. Ole's was a 24 hour grease pit that served the Amtrak crowd back when we had rail service in Marion but after the passenger train station closed up, Ole's cut back on their hours. Used to go down there and play the pinball and they had the juke turned up full blast. Sometime around the late 70s they had a major fire that closed the book store down and eventually Ole's, did reopen but would close sometime in the late 80s. Here's to you Ole's, I ate there and lived to tell about it.

Ole's Ham and Egger (Spring 1988) Marion IA with Poster Edges

Monday, December 13, 2010

Winter Storm Number 2

For the second time in as many weekends we got socked by a potent storm system which brought rain the first day changing over to high winds and blowing snow which pretty much shut the northwestern part of the state down Saturday and Sunday. And then the cold came with this.

One good thing about it was we didn't get much snow out here. I'm guessing we got about 2 inches total. But the winds were a constant 35 MPH yesterday. This could have been worse. Had we got more freezing rain like we did about four years ago, we would have power outages that would lasted more than a couple days.

I guess our friends up in Madison got 10 inches of the white crap rather than the 14 inches predicted. Dubuque got about 5 more inches of snow. Doesn't look like I'll be doing any bargain hunting up there now till springtime.

So this monday we are 5 above and the sun's out. But looks like we in another snow pattern for the next two fucking weeks. So much for a mild winter, that got thrown out the window, just like the last 4 years of December and the cold and snow. And wishing I could have found a decent paying job in Arizona and not having to deal if the car is going to start or not.

Welcome to winter, and it's not even a week before the start of winter.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ten Years Ago-St Louis Mingles Party 2000

I love to tell the story on how me and my GF met. Oh yeah you have heard it all before but each and every one of us has a different variation on it. Unfortunately memory may have erased a certain part or two but what does matter is the aftermath.

When I first got myself a computer, I usually went over to my best friends house to play on his or check out the forbidden sites. Basically my intention on the net wasn't to find a woman but rather to continue to seek out music that I couldn't get in town, back when we had at least 5 or 6 cd stores to go to but we actually signed up for two dating sites that I really didn't care that much about. One was American Singles to which at that time, was free and much more happening place to chat with the opposite sex and the other was Mingles to which I actually signed up before A.S. Let me say one thing about this, if it wasn't for the internet chances are that I'd probably be singled and still not seen anybody since breaking up with Clarice. That would have been 1998.

I actually dated a couple of folks from American Singles but after the last breakup American Singles decided to make it a pay site so I took my cheap butt over to Mingles and for the majority of the weekends I'd hang there and bullshit and chat a while. At that time Mingles had parties going on in certain areas and there was talk that there was a get together going on in St Louis in the middle of December. Not that I really wanted to go, it's too cold and too snowy but at that point we didn't have any snow on the ground and I kinda struck up conversation with somebody there and she talked me into going down there for the weekend. If I got too bored with things, I would then head out and go see what the local Wherehouse Music had for cheap stuff and maybe a few other places. And they just opened up the Chain Of Rocks Bridge after years of being dormant so I wanted to go walk across the bridge.

The original woman that I was hooking up to meet disappointed me right off the bat. Turns out that she was actually seeing somebody else who she eventually marry (and divorced a few years later). And throughout the party and the times everybody was together, I got to see a couple more meet and get married two days later (and divorced a month later and setting off a war of words via Mingles which was entertaining to read) and mostly seeing guys and girls getting drunk and having to get them back to the motel room so they don't take a wrong turn and drown in the Mississippi River not too far from where we stayed at. And there was that strange Dinner Party to which we paid about 20 bucks for a bowl of grits.

Nevertheless we all went back to the motel, whereas the party animals returned to their barhopping and boozing and some of them one nighters where I just sat and chatted with Nicole and her mom for most of that night. At that point we weren't together, she had a boyfriend and I was starting up something with some other woman. On the last night we chatted and then she and her mom returned up to Michigan where I made the five hour trip back home before the first major winter storm arrived and kept everything in white till March.

Funny how things changed. The next year saw me up in Seattle/Spokane trying to keep my relationship alive but after the infamous October week broke up with her. But me and Nicole kept in touch between more bad relationships and failures. Though platonic, she decided that last year we should make a go of it and we returned to our own little Mingles get together last September.

And still remain together. Everything has a start. And it does 10 years ago during a singles party.

It does make a good love story.

As for the other woman, well last I checked she was still on Mingles touting how much she lost a 100 pounds. But still can't keep a man.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Top Ten Of The Week-100 & 90 Or More Music Whiplash From Your Host

Happy Birthday to Louis Prima who would have been 100 on Tuesday but today we celebrate Dave Brubeck's 90th birthday and glad to see he's still alive.

In the meantime, this is what's playing on the player.

1. Take Five (1973 Version)-Dave Brubeck 1973 (I just said the date dammit) Ya know I have heard countless versions of this with the classic lineup and others but perhaps the definite version comes from the band with Gerry Mulligan helping out Paul Desmond along with Jack Six and Alan Dawson who outshines Joe Morello if you can believe that. From the We Are All Together For The First Time, which sounds great on the gold disc put out by MFSL a few years ago.

2. Funky But Chic-David Johansen 1978 Mama says I look fruity, but in jeans I feel rotten sings he. Hell he even out Stones Mick Jagger with that line. Timeless.

3. Samson & Delilah-The Grateful Dead 1981 I'm sure they did better versions of this but I'm more familiar with version from Dead Set. Bobby Darin does a killer version of this too.

4. Dirty Bird-Brant Bjork 2010 You classic rockers out there don't know him but he played in the 1990's desert metal band Kyuss and they made 4 spotty to classic albums for Dali/Elektra (seek out Blues For The Red Sun or the S/T aka Sky Valley album for the best stoner metal) but he played drums. On his solo albums he switched to guitar and vocals and the results are not that much different than Kyuss although Brant forgos the oddball stuff that Josh Homme has been known to do in Queens Of The Stone Age. I guess the dude at Half Priced Books didn't think this was going to sell, he stuck it in the dollar bins to which the keen eye of R.S. found and bought.

5. Boogie-John Hartford 1971 Hartford was known as the guy behind Gentle On My Mind and did a bunch of albums for RCA before moving over to Warner Brothers and drove right down Bluegrass Lane although he had a pun-chant for the oddball. Actually I heard this on the FM underground station around 1973 and never knew who did it till I bought this album on a whim. Reissued via Rounder Records late 90s then deleted and sells for 50 bucks via Amazon. Found another used copy for 2 bucks at Frugal Muse when I did a mad dash to Madison a few weeks ago. Bargain hunters know what to find and where to find it. Some call it skill, I call it luck.

6. Diddy Wah Diddy-Captain Beefheart 1966 I actually got my GF to actually listen to CB's Lick My Decals Off Baby and she said she listened to it. I don't believe she listened to all of it but I'll believe her this time out. Anyway, this did garner some airplay and it was actually produced by one David A Gates who would go on to a music career of his own, the main singer songwriter of Bread. There's a lotta fuzz bass on this song and even a harpsichord just to let you know that the good Captain didn't sell out to make a hit but you can actually listen to it. I thought about challenging the GF to listen to the whole album of Trout Mask Replica but heck even I can't listen to all four sides.

7. Hello Dolly-Louis Armstrong 1964 I'm sure to the newbies out there who like song titles and top ten listings that even they cannot believe of the shifts of music tastes that I throw up here every week. It's probably to the point that I'm considered to be eccentric, erratic, a music lover or just a plain freak. Probably all of the above. Even I can't comprehend of the variety of styles of music we have here. But just going what I have been hearing of late. Armstrong rewrote jazz music of the 20s and 30s but by the time the 60s rolled around he was doing mainly pop or MOR music. Yep, AM radio did play this along The Beatles and Stones and Elvis and Bobby Rydell back then. Came out on Kapp Records. (as a youngster, I had a 45 of Louis' on Mercury and thought it was Hello Dolly but upon a second look, it was actually Mame).

8. When I Was A Cowboy (Western Plains) Alvin Youngblood Hart 1996 I used to listen to a lot of blues in the 80s and 90s but not as much as I used to or should. AYH isn't old bluesman but a relative youngster who incorporates plenty of delta blues (Leadbelly, Joe Louis Hill comes to mind), Chicago Blues and even ragtime aka Blind Blake so this dude sure knows his influences and can play them very well. This came out on the Okeh/550 Epic label back in 1996, back when Sony Music thought that they could make some money on the new blues field. Another 2 dollar find at HP Books.

9. Shut Up And Drive-Widespread Panic 2010 Jam bands are as the closest thing to rock and roll as it used to be on AOR rock years ago. And they have been around for over 20 plus years and were the major signing on the second wave of Capricorn artists in the 90s. Then once Capricorn closed up shop and Phil Walden passed on, WP moved over to Sanctuary Records before that label closed up shop and now find themselves on the ATO label. Good to see John Keane producing them again and they got Jimmy Herring (Aquarium Rescue Unit, Phil Lesh & Friends) playing guitar too. John Bell's singing remains an acquired taste but I must be a fan since I got 10 of their albums. The new one's pretty good and yes ATO even sneaked in a 2 cd live set that I have yet to hear. And may not.

10. Rock And Roll Contract-Badfinger 1981 Something from the last album they would ever do, Say No More. I guess this goes way back to 1975 for the aborted Head First album that Warner Brothers declined to released. However 6 years later, Tom Evans and Joey Molland along with the lesser knowns (although YES Tony Kaye played piano) went to Florida and recorded this on Radio Records with Jack Richardson (who produced the Guess Who and Alice Cooper back in he 70s). Nevertheless, Evans' frustration of the WB years and being ripped off came into being with the countless NO YOU CAN'T as the major theme of song. This was the B side to the failed single I Got You. It also didn't helped much that Badfinger was on another shitty label with Radio Records famous for those Stars On 45 Medley, playing Beatles songs to a disco track but even those hits would fail to keep Radio Records going and Say No More went to the bargain bins. Eventually, some big fan with enough money managed to reissue it via Real Records (no relation to the Iowa City Record Store) for about a week in 2000. You can get the MP3 copy via Amazon if need be. Fun Fact: Many copies of Say No More were so warped and so badly put together that they would skip in every place possible, KRNA tried playing the record one night and it was so warped that they couldn't play it. Fun Fact 2: Badfinger lipsynched their top 85 hit Hold On on the old Solid Gold TV show that WGN used to broadcast in 1981. The B side to that song Passin Time managed to get some airplay on KUNI, which meant that they got themselves a unwarped copy.....or perhaps the 45 itself.

Memories!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Top ten of the week-December

We have crossed over into the final month of this wonderful year. Be prepared for the march of the snow and icestorms and below zero temperatures that await us in this icebox we call Iowa. I know our friends out in Wisconsin and Washington state have beaten us and yes we are late in arrival of the snowy shit but once December has rolled around I'm sure we will get and surpass you in total of the winter weather crap that puts an hour on driving home in it. But in the meantime, no shortage of tunes in the box that warm us up and gives us faith and hope that there's is better music then the overplayed stuff on the radio.

Signs we're getting older: Dick Clark, the world's oldest teenager turned 81 last weekend. That's 18 backwards mind you.

And the big news, you can get The Beatles on I Tunes. Of course I'd rather have them on physical format but you do what's right.

1. Hold On/Surf City Crack The Sky 1975 If your local classic rock or if your even more luckier to have one, AOR radio and they play you Crack The Sky email me where that station is at and I'll listen to it online. Question is was they a prog rock band or a pop rock band? Most of my albums from them came from the budget bins from forgotten record stores (BJ's, Krackers, K Mart) and there was a nice little compilation that came out on CD about ten years ago that's now OOP and hard to find. These two tracks would be a live staple to which they used The William Tell Overture or The Lone Ranger Theme in the jam part of Surf City. Live Sky is one of the amazing live albums that would have been fun to seen live.

2. Some Fun-The Raindogs 1991 Album rock radio didn't completely die out in the 1990s but as Clear Channel and Cumulus brought every underground radio up and down from the up yours Telecommunications Act of 1996, the day the music really died up and coming bands that had chance to play on the album rock stations did for about a day or two. Such is the case of this band that made two decent albums for Atco and can be found for a buck or two in the cheap bins at the junk shop. We don't have record stores anymore, so it's second hand or junk shops. The Raindogs had a violin player who passed away about five years ago and they got Don Gehman to produce this and they had cameo appearances from Harry Dean Stanton on this track and Iggy Pop on another and it didn't sell. I simply brought it from the title alone Border Drive In Theater and having an old drive in screen for cover picture. The record still sounds pretty good today.

3. How's Your Bird/The World's Greatest Sinner-Baby Ray & The Ferns 1963 Baby Ray is Ray Collins, later of The Mothers Of Invention fame and this was one of the earliest singles coming from the mind of Frank Zappa. If you catch the Steve Allen program that showed Zappa teaching Allen how to play bicycle you would hear Frank putting in a plug for these songs. Frank passed away in 93 but Collins recently just turned 72 and still doing fine from what I hear.

4. Shelling Rain-Alejandro Escovedo 2010 As I was compiling the best of 2010, I was once again listening to the CDs bought and yes his album made the list, Street Songs Of Love it's called and I thought it was better than his last two albums but both of them were very good indeed. This time out, he pretty much told the cello player to take a vacation and most of this album is hard rocking guitar fun. Too bad it didn't sell all that great unlike the new Kanye West debuting at number 1 on the outdated Billboard site. Perhaps Alejandro should have used autotuner then? Naw, let's keep it real.

5. Pictures-Len Price 3-2010 I know you don't know them folks but these guys revoke memories of the mid 60s of high energy British rock like a hungry early Who or wacked out Kinks and a more wilder version of The Creation but on this track they add a bit more Green Day Dookie era and it still sounds like 1965 all over again. From Little Steven's Wicked Cool Records.

6. In America-Charlie Daniels Band 1980 Dedicated to Eddie Montgomery whose battling prostate cancer and his faithless wife who served him divorce papers in the process. Stand by your man honey. Amazingly back in the 80s where you can still hear interesting songs on top forty, this did get airplay on Z102.9 used to be Q103 back when they were good. In the early days of having cable tv, we had a public access channel that would give us news and the stock market report and I recall hearing this song in the background as the Dow Jones wisked away. Guess you could call it our music video so to speak.

7. Little By Little-Robert Plant 1985 From Shaken & Stirred probably the worst piece of crap album Plant ever put out. He said it was an experimental album. It was and it tried many people's patience. This was the hit off that album. Plant would get much better after this crapfest of an album.

8. Spanish Eyes-Al Martino 1966 Of course radio wouldn't play this today, certainly not top forty, no auto tuner in this. But this is what I remember from AM radio of the 60s, Al could fit in along with Aretha Franklin, The Beatles, The Kingsmen and Iron Butterfly in one setting. Amazing how we have all this music and radio is so limited in what they play. And today's format radio sucks. Certainly Al Martino is my guilty pleasure, didn't like it all that much when i was young but do now. That must mean I'm turning 50 very soon. Heard this on KAHM FM online, the radio station from Prescott that plays the mellow side of things.

9. Back Again-The Townedgers 2002 My GF says that I don't play them enough. She has a point. Another band that you won't hear or get mentioned anywhere but here. That's what I do, I sing the praises of forgotten bands. Somebody's got to.

10. Twilight Zone-Golden Earring 1983 They have been around for 4 decades but the only songs you ever hear from them are Radar Love (1974) and this one which was their highest charting hit and still gets many plays on the classic rock stations. And of course had a bit of help from the old MTV which played this video a lot around 1983. Back when MTV was watchable. Back when cable was more watchable and had about 6 hours less commercials than today. Money well wasted on today's "programming". Didn't think the IPad commercial was programming myself.

A final farewell to Leslie Neilsen who passed away from Phenomena complications. He was 84 and of course best known as the straight faced doctor on Airplane! and Frank Derbin on The Naked Gun series. He could do serious acting and he can do slapstick comedy. He will be missed.